BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former Rogers wrestling coach has entered a not guilty plea to a charge of sexual assault involving a teenager from his school.
Colton Looper, 26, was arraigned in Benton County Circuit Court on October 12 and entered the plea. The court reiterated that a no-contact order with the case’s victim remains in place.
Looper was arrested on September 1 after officers were called to the Rogers Public Schools Administration Building in reference to an abuse complaint made on August 29. Dr. Charles Lee, an assistant superintendent for Rogers Public Schools, advised investigators that there was a complaint regarding “a sexual relationship between a student that has since graduated and a coach.”
Lee told officers that he had been contacted by “a concerned parent” who disclosed that an 18-year-old female admitted to having a sexual relationship with Looper, her wrestling coach, during the 2021-22 school year. The victim told Lee that she had been in a relationship with Looper from September 2021 through July 2022.
She explained that she exchanged nude photographs with her coach and had intercourse with him on one occasion. Dr. Lee then spoke with Looper, who initially denied having the text message conversation. He later admitted to having the conversation and sending nude photographs.
Looper and the victim had “a mutual idea” to meet for sex “around October or November.” She reported that he had been at a boys’ wrestling tournament and left early to meet her. She reported that they had intercourse in his vehicle in the back of a business parking lot.
Rogers police officers executed a search warrant at Looper’s residence on September 1 shortly after 7:30 a.m. Looper told officers that he knew why they were there. He admitted to exchanging “inappropriate messages and photographs” with the victim.
He told the officers that he was called in by school administrators to discuss the matter on August 26. He lied to them at first, and then he was told there would be an investigation.
“I’m sorry, I ****ed up,” he responded.
He told officers he had been accused of something like this when he was a coach in Oklahoma, admitting that he had inappropriate conversations with an 18-year-old girl that wanted to join the wrestling team in Watonga.
Although the victim was not a minor, a criminal information filing explained the first degree sexual assault charge as follows:
A person commits sexual assault in the first degree if: The person is a teacher, principal, athletic coach, or counselor in the public or private school in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) and the actor: Engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a person who is not the actor’s spouse and the victim is: less than twenty-one (21) years of age; and a student enrolled in the public or private school employing the actor; and is in a position of trust or authority over the victim and uses his or her position of trust or authority over the victim to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity.
To Wit: Between August and December, 2021, in Benton County, Arkansas, the Defendant was an athletic coach in a position of trust or authority over [the victim] and the Defendant used his position to engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with [the victim] against the peace and dignity of the State of Arkansas.Criminal information filing, State of Arkansas vs. Colton Campbell Looper, October 10
On September 20, the State of Arkansas appointed Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim McDonald as the lead prosecutor in the case. Judge Brad Karren scheduled a pretrial hearing for December 5.